The Right Tank Material: Carbon Steel

Buckeye Fabricating

Buckeye Fabricating manufactures tanks using a variety of metals: carbon, stainless steel, Nickel 200, and Duplex 2205, just to name a few.  We’ve been looking at the pros and cons of tank materials, both those available through Buckeye and those available elsewhere, to help you choose the best tank for your specific application.

Did you know that roughly 90% of all steel produced is carbon steel?  While all classes of steel contain some carbon, true Carbon Steel is distinguished from stainless steel in that carbon content is as much as 2.1%, making it the main alloying element. Additionally, carbon steel specifies that there is no minimum content specification for other added elements, there is no more than 1.65% manganese or .6% silicon, or the minimum copper content is .4% or less and the maximum is .6%.

It would stand to reason that carbon steel is a popular material choice for Buckeye customers.  Carbon steel is wear resistant, which is an important quality in an industrial tank, as well as malleable.  The higher carbon content makes the steel harder and stronger than other steels.  Tanks made with carbon steel tend to be more affordable.  A tank made with carbon steel will require less materials than a stainless steel tank, while the materials are less expensive than those used for exotic metal tanks.

As many benefits as they are to carbon steel, there are some drawbacks.  Hardness is typically a trade-off for ductility (the ability to hold up when stretched), or vice versa.   High-carbon steel can become brittle or less effective in varying temperatures.  The carbon content also makes carbon tanks more susceptible to rust and more difficult to weld.

Fortunately, for every carbon steel weakness, there is a remedy.  Low-carbon steels are a less brittle, lower cost alternative to ultra-high-carbon steel.  Heat treatment can be used to increase ductility or hardness, without sacrificing the better qualities of the material.  Along those same lines, Buckeye offers several options for coatings and finishes to prevent oxidation.  We can add epoxy, enamel, or rubber lining, as well as galvanizing (zinc coating) and rust inhibitor coating (usually wax or silicate based).  Each of these will prevent rust in your carbon steel tank.

Whichever material you choose, a tank is only as good as its manufacturer.  Buckeye Fabricating has mastered tank fabrication because we provide more than basic tanks, we provide customized solutions.  What problem can Buckeye solve you today?

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